vaping

Your Look at the New AHA Initiative to “End the Lies” about Vaping

As one of the nation’s leading organizations dedicated to improving public health, the American Heart Association (AHA) has a long history of supporting lifesaving research and advocating for positive lifestyle changes. Over the course of its nearly 100-year history, the group’s advocacy work has focused on several areas, including the importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet and the dangers of tobacco. The AHA’s role in strengthening tobacco oversight led to the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which enhanced tobacco regulation and curbed the use of misleading tobacco advertisements.

With the rising popularity of vaping, the Association has redirected its focus in recent years to highlight the dangers that e-cigarettes and other vape products pose to public health, particularly the health of young people. As part of this work, the AHA recently launched the End the Lies Youth Vaping and Nicotine Research Initiative, a $20-million effort exploring nicotine’s effect on youth health.

The Association is also partnering with other groups to strengthen vaping laws and regulations in order to prevent underage users from obtaining nicotine products. Keep reading to get a closer look at vaping’s effect on one’s health and what the AHA is doing to prevent nicotine addiction.

 

Vaping and Your Health

While e-cigarettes have been marketed as a healthy alternative to traditional tobacco products, the effects of vaping on cardiovascular health are not well understood. The vapors inhaled through e-cigarettes and similar products indeed contain fewer chemicals than traditional tobacco; however, many toxins, metals, and contaminants are still present in e-cigarettes, and most vaping products still contain nicotine, which is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical.

Vape liquids also present a poisoning risk if they are ingested or absorbed through the skin, and recent cases of vaping-related lung diseases and death underscore the importance of bridging the knowledge gap between what is and is not known about vaping. That’s where the AHA’s End the Lies Initiative comes in.

 

Advancing Research

As the name suggests, the End the Lies Youth Vaping and Nicotine Research Initiative is focused on advancing research into how vaping affects physical health. The initiative is aimed at several priority areas, including:

  • Examining vaping’s effects on adolescent brain development and learning
  • Exploring how vape product flavors and other enhancements influence addiction
  • Discovering what effects nicotine and vape chemicals have on the cardiovascular system
  • Establishing whether vape products are effective tools for smoking cessation

In addition, the End the Lies Initiative will direct funding toward research into youth nicotine addiction treatment. Funding will also be used to examine how legislative policies can reduce vaping among young people.

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Advocating for Regulation and Oversight

Through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente and the Preventing Youth Nicotine Addiction Policy Fund, the AHA is advocating for stronger vaping laws and regulations on the local, state, and national levels. Policy efforts are focused on including e-cigarettes in smoke-free laws and restricting tobacco sales to those 21 years and older, a policy that is currently in place in 19 states and Washington, DC. Other policy priorities include raising tax rates on e-cigarettes and prohibiting vape-related marketed directed at young people.

 

Tackling False Industry Claims

In addition to ensuring that lawmakers do their part in the fight against nicotine addiction, the AHA is using its End the Lies Initiative to call out e-cigarette companies for their false claims and manipulative marketing tactics. These marketing tactics have contributed to a significant increase in vaping among youth. In fact, recent statistics show a steady increase in vaping among high school and middle school students since 2016. Today, it’s estimated that more than 5 million teens use vape products.

A key tool the AHA is using to tackle false industry claims is its website Quitlying.org. Launched in early 2020, the site features vaping facts versus lies, as well as other educational information. Teachers can turn to the site for a variety learning resources, including lesson plans, infographics, and fact sheets. Quitlying.org also provides links to vaping resources for parents, health professionals, and youth.

 

Engaging Community Members

Along with providing vaping education, Quitlying.org serves as a community engagement platform that encourages young people to raise awareness of the dangers associated with e-cigarettes. On the site, users can access memes and tips for spreading the word about vaping on social media. Users can also take action by signing a letter telling vaping companies to stop lying and encouraging members of US Congress to enact policies protecting youth.

Additionally, Quitlying.org keeps young people informed of in-person events held as part of the #QuitLying campaign. Throughout early 2020, young people across the country held activities in partnership with schools and other community organizations. Youth activists have also established school and community forums to engage their peers in the vaping conversation.

More information about the AHA’s efforts to curb nicotine use is available at www.heart.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. 

achievement

Introducing Wounded Warrior’s Dedicated Board of Directors

wounded warrior projectAlongside an executive leadership team headed by CEO Mike Linnington, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) operates under the guidance of a 12-member board of directors that provides governance and oversight for the group’s various programs and activities.

Drawing on their diverse backgrounds in military, government, nonprofit, business, and medicine, the board members work together to ensure that WWP is meeting the needs of veterans while gaining the resources required to continue its programs well into the future.

In January 2020, Wounded Warrior strengthened its board by adding three new members with both military and business leadership experience. Keep reading for a brief introduction to the new members and the rest of the WWP board of directors.

 

Kathy Hildreth

A former test pilot and aviation maintenance officer in the US Army, Kathy Hildreth served in the military for over five years before going on to launch a career in the defense industry. Her company, M1 Support Services, carries out complex government support contracts and is dedicated to providing jobs for military veterans. Along with Bill Selman and Ken Hunzeker, Hildreth is among the newest members of the WWP board.

 

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Bill Selman

West Point graduate Bill Selman served as an active-duty Army officer for five years and continued his military service in the Army Reserve, eventually retiring as a lieutenant colonel. As a civilian, he has held various leadership positions in finance, sales, engineering, and insurance while supporting various nonprofit groups.

 

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ken Hunzeker

Also a West Point graduate, Ken Hunzeker commanded various Army forces throughout a military career spanning 35 years. After retiring from the military in 2010, he worked for several years in government relations. Hunzeker’s recent accolades include his selection as a 2020 Distinguished Graduate of the US Military Academy.

 

Lisa Disbrow

Lisa Disbrow joined the US Air Force in 1985. Her military career, which spanned over three decades, included work in signals/electronic intelligence and deployments during Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch. Disbrow’s activities since retiring from the Air Force Reserve in 2008 include serving as the 25th Under Secretary of the US Air Force.

 

Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Michael T. Hall

Like many other members of the WWP board of directors, Michael T. Hall has spent his entire adult life in service to his country. As an Army officer, he completed multiple deployments and earned several decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal and Distinguished Service Medal. Hall retired after 34 years of military service and has since worked as a defense consultant, executive coach, and dedicated supporter of several veterans organizations.

 

Juan Garcia

Currently a managing director at Deloitte in Washington, DC, Juan Garcia previously served for six years as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). He was appointed to the leadership position after serving active and reserve Navy duty for over 15 years. Alongside his military service, Garcia, who holds a juris doctor and a master in public policy from Harvard, has worked as an attorney and member of the Texas House of Representatives.

 

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Rick Tryon

Lieutenant General Rick Tryon retired from the Marine Corps in 2014 after nearly four and a half decades of military service. His military career began in 1970 and included leadership assignments in Japan, Iraq, Turkey, and several European countries. In addition to serving on the WWP board of directors and WWP advisory council, Tryon serves as a senior fellow in international leadership at the University of North Florida.

 

Cari DeSantis

With a professional background focused on government and nonprofit organizational management, Cari DeSantis brings unique expertise to the WWP board of directors, which she joined in 2017. Much of her work has focused on the health and human services sector. Alongside her activities with WWP, DeSantis currently leads a Maryland-based nonprofit that connects people of differing abilities with employment opportunities.

Named one of the Top 100 Women for 2017 by the Daily Record in Maryland, DeSantis is an award-winning author of three books.

 

Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Alonzo Smith

Alonzo Smith is an experienced combat veteran with firsthand knowledge of the difficulties faced by the nation’s wounded warriors. During a deployment to Afghanistan, Smith sustained severe wounds that led to several surgeries, prolonged hospital stays, and a long recovery process aided by physical rehabilitation. Following his 33-year military career, he has been dedicated to helping his fellow veterans as a WWP alumnus and board member.

 

Kathleen Widmer

Another West Point graduate, Kathleen Widmer has balanced her professional pursuits in business management and marketing leadership with her activities as an advocate for military veterans. Her work in this area includes serving as co-chair of the Veterans Leadership Council at Johnson & Johnson. Since 2018, Widmer has helped lead the WWP board of directors as vice chair.

 

Dr. Jonathan Woodson

Board certified in internal medicine, general surgery, vascular surgery, and critical care surgery, Dr. Jonathan Woodson joined the WWP board of directors in 2016 and now serves as board chair. Outside of his work at WWP, Dr. Woodson has held positions in the Military Health System, including Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. He currently serves as a professor of surgery, management, health law, and policy at Boston University Medical Center in addition to serving as Army Reserve Medical Command commanding general.

 

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Justin Constantine

Like Sergeant Major Alonzo Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Justin Constantine has also overcome wounds received in military combat. After miraculously recovering from a sniper gunshot to the head, he joined WWP and launched a civilian career that has included work as an inspirational speaker and writer on military and leadership issues. For his courage and work with military veterans, WWP awarded him the George C. Lang Award and appointed him to board of directors in 2011. Today, he stands out as the group’s longest-serving member.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. 

alaska

A Spotlight on the Big Ways BGCA Serves Native Youth

boysandgirlsclubIn addition to serving youth in major cities nationwide, Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BBCA) maintains over 1,000 Clubs in rural areas. These include many communities on Native lands, which are home to American Indian, Alaska Native, American Samoan, and Hawaiian tribal youth. Along with the challenges that affect young people of all cultural backgrounds, those in Native communities often have unique needs that aren’t being addressed by local programs.

As part of a commitment to promote and expand youth development initiatives among Native kids and teens, BGCA established its Native Services arm in partnership with tribal leaders and other key stakeholders on tribal lands. Keep reading to learn more about BGCA Native Services and what it’s doing to improve the lives of Native youth.

 

Challenges Facing Native Communities

Across the United States, there are many self-governing Native American communities that are home to over 570 federally recognized tribes. Each of these groups has its own rich culture, heritage, language, and traditions. Unfortunately, many Native communities also face unique challenges that make it difficult for tribe members, including Native youth, to reach their full potential.

Although many young tribe members thrive and succeed in life, Native youth are among the most vulnerable populations in the country. In addition to experiencing high rates of poverty, a disproportionate number of Native youth face challenges related to physical and nutritional health, mental wellness, substance abuse, and education. A lack of local resources and the isolation of some Native communities can make these challenges even more difficult to overcome.

 

What BGCA Native Services Is Doing to Help

The mission of BGCA Native Services is to help Native youth reach their full potential while celebrating the particular strengths and cultural traditions of the country’s tribal communities. Since launching Native Services in 1992, BGCA has expanded its offerings to become the largest youth-serving organization on Native land. Today, more than 86,000 youth from over 100 tribes benefit from programming offered through nearly 200 Native Clubs nationwide.

Over the years, BGCA has built sustainable partnerships with tribal leaders and invested resources toward improving the capacity of professional staff and other leaders of Native Clubs. As with Club programs outside of Native communities, those implemented by BGCA Native Services focus on physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development. BGCA has also worked closely with local tribes and community leaders to develop programming specific to the needs and cultures of Native youth.

 

Native Services Club Programs

Native Services Club programs cover each of BGCA’s five core program areas: Character and Leadership Development; Health and Life Skills; Education and Career Development; the Arts; and Sports, Fitness and Recreation. Native Club youth take part in national BGCA programs such as All Stars, DIY STEM, My.Future, and Smart Moves.

Through the work of Native Services leaders, the curriculum of each of these programs has been adapted to be more reflective of Native American culture. BGCA also encourages all local Native Club leaders to create supplemental materials and activities to further reflect their own community’s unique culture and traditions. Native Services even created its Cultural Program Toolbox to make it easier for Clubs to build and implement culturally relevant services.

Along with adapting existing BGCA programming, Native Services has developed programs that are only implemented in Native Clubs. They include On the T.R.A.I.L (Together Raising Awareness for Indian Life) to Diabetes Prevention. This program aims to reduce the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes among Native communities through a combination of physical, nutritional, and educational activities.

 

Keeping the Momentum Going

More than 25 years after launching Native Services, BGCA continues to build momentum as the top youth agency on Native lands. As part of its Great Futures 2025 Strategy, which was developed in 2017, the organization has established four key priorities for its activities with Native youth.

Going forward, Boys and Girls Clubs will work to increase the quality of Native Club programs and leadership while advocating for Native youth development. The group will also focus on growing the number of Native Club members as it continues to expand and improve programming.

BGCA Native Services has received significant support in these efforts from corporate and nonprofit partners. This includes the Walmart Foundation, which donated $500,000 to help BGCA provide Native kids and teens with education on healthy lifestyles and nutrition. The funding is supporting education and Club improvements at over two dozen Clubs on Native lands.

BGCA also relies on the support of individual donors to continue its Native Services programming. Supporters can make a tax-deductible donation to the Native American Sustainability Fund to ensure that Native Clubs continue to thrive. Each dollar donated to the fund is used to increase Club sustainability, foster organizational growth, and provide training resources and technical support for Native Club leaders.

More information about BGCA Native Services and ways you can help is available at www.naclubs.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. 

Here Are the Results of the 10th Annual Warrior Survey

woundedwarriorprojectIn its efforts to identify the challenges facing the nation’s veterans and their families, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) conducts an annual survey examining the physical, emotional, mental, economic, and social needs of post-9/11 service members. It is the largest survey of its kind.

The WWP Annual Warrior Survey helps the organization allocate resources toward programs and initiatives with the highest potential impact. The survey also provides important data that policymakers and government agencies can use to improve the quality of veterans’ programs and services.

WWP recently released the results of its 10th Annual Warrior Survey. It collected information on numerous topics concerning veterans, including demographic shifts, deployment trends, employment and financial stability, and homelessness.

Survey data also provided health information related to service-connected physical injuries, PTSD and traumatic brain injury, physical health and obesity, and substance abuse. Keep reading for a closer look at the findings from WWP’s 2019 Warrior Survey.

 

Respondent Demographics

For its 10th Annual Warrior Survey, WWP reached out to just under 110,000 members and received 35,908 completed surveys. Of those who responded, 83 percent are male with an average age of 42. The majority of respondents (65.9 percent) were married at the time of the survey. Just over 37 percent of respondents possessed a bachelor’s degree or higher.

In terms of race and ethnicity, the top three represented among respondents are Caucasian (66.1 percent), Hispanic (19.6 percent), and Black or African American (16 percent). The remaining respondents comprise American Indian or Alaskan Native (5.3 percent), those who identified as other race/ethnicity (3.8 percent), Asian (3.7 percent), and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (1.6 percent).

Respondents hailed from several areas of the country, but most (54 percent) were living in the South at the time of the survey. Nearly one-quarter (23.8 percent) live in the West while 12.6 percent live in the Midwest and 9.6 percent live in the Northeast.

 

Service-Connected Injuries and Health Issues

boys and girls clubAs mentioned, the main goal of the Annual Warrior Survey is to identify challenges facing the nation’s veterans in order to help WWP and other organizations tailor their assistance programs and services accordingly. The top challenges typically include service-related physical injuries and associated mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Among the respondents to the 10th Annual Warrior Survey, 91 percent experienced three or more injuries as a result of their military service. At the top of the list of most commonly reported issues in the survey were sleep problems, PTSD, and anxiety. These issues were reported by 87.5 percent, 82.8 percent, and 80.7 percent of respondents, respectively. Back, neck, or shoulder problems and depression were also among the most common self-reported health issues.

A new health question in the 2019 Warrior Survey asked respondents about their exposure to toxic materials such as chemical agents and burn pit fumes. Over two-thirds (70.4 percent) of respondents reported that they had definitely been exposed to such environmental hazards during their service. However, less than 10 percent reported receiving treatment for their exposure.

 

Social Support, Health Care Coverage, and Access to Care

Fortunately, the level of social support among veterans who responded to the survey appears to be quite high. Nearly 80 percent of respondents agreed that there are people they could turn to for help if they needed it. Over 72 percent agreed that there are people around them who enjoy the same social activities they do.

In addition to benefitting from social support, most (71 percent) respondents reported that they receive at least some health care coverage through Veterans Affairs (VA). This represents a 12 percent increase over the last five years. Nearly all those who receive VA coverage choose to use the agency’s services. Veterans cited prescription benefits and access to care for service-related disabilities among the top reasons for selecting the VA over other providers.

An important takeaway from the 10th Annual Warrior Survey is related to access to care for mental health issues. This has been an ongoing issue that continues to affect nearly one-third of veterans in need of care. Fortunately, however, the 2019 survey shows slight improvements in this area over the previous year.

 

Employment and Financial Well-Being

Numerous barriers make it difficult for some veterans to obtain employment. Fortunately, however, the majority of Warrior Survey respondents (62.6 percent) are employed, and 48.8 percent of them are employed full-time.

The percentage of respondents employed part-time is 7.3 percent, and 6.6 percent are self-employed. For those respondents who are not in the labor force, some of the most commonly cited barriers to employment include mental health issues (35 percent), difficulty being around others (28.3 percent), and physical issues (19.6 percent).

In the areas of income and finances, findings from the 2019 Annual Warrior Survey show that respondents are feeling better about their financial situations than they were in 2018. Nearly 30 percent of warriors surveyed said that their finances have improved compared to the previous year. This represents a 2 percent improvement from 2018 and a nearly 8 percent improvement from the first Warrior Survey in 2010.

One reason for the improvement in finances could be related to the growth in the number of veterans who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher. Over 37 percent of respondents hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, approximately one in five of those surveyed reported that they are currently pursuing post-secondary credentials.

More information about the findings from the 10th Annual Warrior Survey is available at www.woundedwarrior.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.